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Orillo Films producer Keenan Foley is thrilled to finally tell the hidden story behind the British Olympic sailing team in his new documentary film 'Chasing Tokyo', writes Megan Armitage.
The York-based company was contacted by British Sailing during the Covid pandemic to capture the emotional and impressive journey that their athletes embarked on in their pursuit of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The documentary will debut on the Olympic Channel on the 28th July and Foley is excited to highlight the story behind the sails and the personal endeavours of the athletes.
Speaking at the 'Chasing Tokyo premiere, he said: "We've called it the 'Hidden Journey' because these athletes are amazing and sailing is a sport that's developed so much since the London Games.
"It's as much mental as it is physical and it's a sport that's sort of dictated by the weather.
"You could be the best in the world in light winds and still come last in heavy winds so we felt that it was really important just to drill down on these people as to who they are as people and hopefully they feel we've done that."
Whether you're a sailing fan or just love a story of raw emotion and drive, 'Chasing Tokyo' captures the spirit of the British Olympic Sailing team and the struggles they encountered on the way to becoming the most successful sailing team in the world.
It follows the stories of Tokyo gold medallists Eilidh McIntyre, Stuart Blithe, London 2012 silver medallist Luke Patience and Tokyo Olympian Tom Squires.
Foley said: "Sailing is a really tricky sport to make a film about, it's out at sea, it's hard for spectators to understand without broadcast and graphics overlaid and we had a big challenge on our hands on how to tell a sailing story without showing any sailing.
"Because we felt there was a lack of human connection within a lot of the sailing stories so we had this premise and we wanted to make this sailing documentary without any sailing in it.
"We wanted to try and follow the narrative and the characters as they sort of ducked and weaved out on competitions and as they travelled around the world and homes and meet their families and the people that support them."
With the challenges faced by the athletes, Foley commended the accessibility provided by British Sailing to make the film and was proud of the final product.
At the heart of the 'Chasing Tokyo' is a hope to showcase the dynamic sport of sailing and what it offers beyond its tactical plays and complexity.
Foley said: "We had to win over the trust of the team as well, it was a lot of effort.
"So we really said that we were committed to coming down here. There was no ifs or buts, the story had to take precedent so there was a lot of challenges.
"I think what's been great as well is just seeing Portland as a place. It’s a little island in the UK, not many people know about it and as a production crew we had fun exploring it and meeting the locals.
"I think it's quite fitting that we’re doing the screening here at the Nothe Fort in Weymouth which was the home of the Olympic 2012 Olympics sailing, where it was broadcast from and there are scenes of this in our documentary so it's fitting that we're outside, we're in nature and we're exactly where the journey started for us."
Watch Chasing Tokyo at Olympics.com